Last afternoon, the Kerala High Court passed an important judgement on how society views nudity for male and female bodies. The Kerala High Court said that the nudity of a female upper body should not be regarded as sexual or obscene by default.

Kerala high court

In its judgement, the Kerala High Court said, “The autonomy of the male body is seldom questioned, while the body agency and autonomy of women are under constant threat in a patriarchal structure. The women are bullied, discriminated against, isolated, and prosecuted for making choices about their bodies and lives.”

The judgement came after a 33-year-old women’s rights activist Rehana Fathima was charged under the POCSO, Juvenile Justice and the Information Technology (IT) Acts for a video she had uploaded to YouTube. In the video, her children are painting on her upper body as it was an exercise for the children to view nude bodies as normal and not as sexual objects.

rehana fatima
The South First

Citing body autonomy Justice Kauser Edappagath said, “Painting on the upper body of a mother by her own children as an art project cannot be characterised as a real or simulated sexual act, nor can it be said that the same was done for the purpose of sexual gratification or with sexual intent. To term this innocent artistic expression to be ‘usage of a child in a real or simulated sexual act’ is harsh. There is nothing to show that the children were used for pornography. There is no hint of sexuality in the video”.

The male body has always been used as a form of artistic expression by painting in India. The same gets sexualised when it comes to the female body.

This judgement has sparked waves on social media. Here’s what people have to say about it.

Glad to see a High Court noting making such an important observation about women’s bodies.